Story and Photos by Rusty Ellis
The Cookeville Cavaliers scored early to take control and broke the game open late in a 10-0 win over Livingston Academy.
Chris Hall opened the scoring with an RBI single to give Cookeville a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and Carson Ragland added a run-scoring base hit of his own in the second to double the lead to 2-0.
Hall drove in the third run of the game with a bases-loaded walk in the fourth, but that was the last time Cookeville would score until late in the sixth inning.
With the bases full of Cavaliers, Ty Gantt blasted a grand-slam over the left-field fence to push the lead to 7-0, breaking the game wide open for CHS.
The Cavaliers added three more runs in the seventh to push the lead to 10-0 and they held LA off the scoreboard for all seven innings to lock down the shutout win for head coach Butch Chaffin.
“I think we played really clean on defense, which we’ve been emphasizing,” Chaffin said. “With our young pitching growing up while they’re pitching a game, we have to play clean defense behind them…Gantt’s blast allowed everyone to exhale. He stayed on that ball really well.”
Ty Burk and Braden Hawn combined to shut out the Wildcats, something that Chaffin chalked up to both pitchers locating their pitches really well.
“Burk’s been really hot for us, and he can spin the ball even better than he did tonight,” Chaffin said. “Then we went to Hawn, who’s had some really solid outings for us…all you have to do is stay in the zone in your time on the mound.”
As far as what he would like to see his team continue to improve on, Chaffin says he wants his team to do a better job of not leaving runners on base and scoring at every opportunity.
“We’ve been leaving guys on base, and we’ve been trying to get better with two strikes,” Chaffin said. “We got a few two-strike hits tonight. We’re just trying to stay aggressive on pitches with two strikes and making minor adjustments.”